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Governance and citizens participation

Teresa Petrangolini secretary general Active Citizenship

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Cittadinanzattiva

Active Citizenship Network (ACN)


An Italian citizens organization started in 1978; Defense of citizens rights and the promotion of civic participation in Italy and in Europe; Some 90.000 members, voluntaries. More than 30 years of experience

A European network started in 2001 Promotes the participation of citizens organizations in European and national public policies Over 100 partner organizations from 30 European countries.

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International policies

Promotion of citizens participation in public policies and governance systems Health, transportation, waste, energy and water delivery, education and schools, etc Projects for empowerment of active citizenship to support local civic participation Morocco and Colombia with UNDP
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Why active citizenship

Citizens are a fundamental resource for democracy. They should play a more active role in society Not only voting or paying taxes Citizenship, individuals and organizations should be stregthened in their capabilities and powers to partecipate in everyday
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What means active citizenship

The capacity of citizens to self-organize autonomously in a variety of ways to defend their rights, exercising powers and responsabilities in public policies for the caring for common goods

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Common Goods

the common goods describes a specific "good" that is shared and beneficial for all members of a given community. Water resources, environment, sociality, public health, common value, etc Their protection depends on the behaviors and responsability of the community
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An important achievement Horizontal subsidiarity

The state, regions, provinces, municipalities and towns favour autonomous initiative of citizens, individually and in association, to conduct activities in the general interest based on the principle of subsidiarity (art. 118, 4, Italian Constitution).
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The main actors of citizens participation

Local autorities as promoter of civic involvement Civil society organizations as resources to gather active citizenship

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Good news

Active citizenship is not only an abstract idea, but a real event all over the world Concrete example of citizens involvement has been promoted in several cities, in Med area too
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Good news

Revolutions in North Africa were leaded by civil society movements and the average age of participant was 26 years. Not only violent upraising but also consciousness about the crucial role of community leader
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Libyan citizens cover the void of institutions

Libyan people in the opposition-held areas are taking great initiative to organize themselves now that there is a void of Gaddafi government structure.

They have formed local committees that address sectors such as food, water and sanitation, police and security, and other critical sectors. There are volunteers who are directing traffic, tending the public gardens, cleaning the streets and taking on many of the civil responsibilities necessary to maintain order in the city
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Something amazing is going on in Egypt.


People are spontaneously coming together, providing and supporting state services. People are escorting ambulances, cleaning streets, and maintaining security all as spontaneous volunteers. New York Times ran an article about a group that started to protect utilities and help alleviate traffic problems. The Atlantic ran the video about people coming together to clean streets in the wake of protests. People are organizing to protect cultural institution from looting.
http://handsonblog.org/2011/02/02/volunteerism-breaks-out-inegypt/?utm_source=Staff%2BTwitter&utm_medium=Twitter&utm_camp aign=Blog
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Examples of citizens involvement in local governance

Morocco: constitutional reform based on centrality of local community and local Governance.

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Examples of citizens involvement in local governance: Morocco


Civil society involved in Commission de la parit et de l'galit des chances and la Charte comunale to streghten civic participation, above all of women and young people in every municipality. Its an on going process. It will be probably successfull for a strong and wide presence of civil society organizations in Morocco.
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Examples of citizens involvement in local governance


Italy: a long experience of participatory democracy in many cities, more theoretical rather than real. A good news: an article of law (Comma 461, art. 2, L 244/2007) refers to civic participation in the management of local public services (users consultation, quality assessment, complaints management, etc.)
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Examples of citizens involvement in local governance


City of Rome: 3 Municipality: Active citizenship has been involved on drafting the Service Charter introducing citizens requirements on the improvement of Population services, allowance procedures for public area and kindercartens. 11 Municipality: citizens has been consulted on planning and management of public park In each hospital its organized, every two years, a Civic Audit to- assess the quality of Polismed 22 oct 2011

Examples of citizens involvement in local governance Colombia Cartagena and Pasto: Citizens (vocales de control) engaged to check the quality of local public services, to confront with companies and municipalities in order to improve energy delivering, utility bills and waste collection. Universities and students are involved in supporting common citizens in expertise.
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Active citizenship is a necessity

Because it strengthens social cohesion and develops democracy Because it is a widespread phenomenon around the world, expecially in contexts of crisis Because diffusion of information (eg. social network) supports the awareness of people
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Active citizenship is a necessity

Because there is a lack of trust in traditional politics and politicians Because the institutions need support and collaboration from active citizenship

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Thank you for your attention!

t.petrangolini@cittadinanzattiva.it t.petrangolini@activecitizenship.net

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